When to plant a tree

One of my husband’s favorite sayings is “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.” 

Isn’t that great? It immediately lets you off the hook over what you haven’t quite done, and simultaneously offers hope for what can be if we just start.

We have a gorgeous Spanish Red Oak in our back yard. We planted it about 18 years ago. It was a small, spindly little thing. At the time, I actually didn’t want it. From the chair swing on our porch I had a great view of the open Texas sky, with amazing sunsets and the occasional falling star. I didn’t want to change any of it.

But, after many years, I can’t imagine that tree not being there. It provides cool shade from the intense sun. It filters beautiful light and shadow onto the grass and the inside walls of the house. It sways and moves and bends to the wind and that sound is the best thing to fall asleep to. It even provides some privacy from the brand new houses the neighborhood said they would never build.

Three years ago I made the decision to become an artist. That nagging voice in my head said it was time. Little did I know what I was getting into. I had an idea of how I thought it might go. Some of my hunches were right, and some of them weren’t. If I knew then what I know now, I doubt I would ever have started. But, I’m so grateful I did, as it has changed me in ways I never expected. I think it’s finally starting to take root and that feels amazing.

Branching out,


The tree